Squirrelpocalypse Musings

I don’t know if it’s a New England thing, or an east coast thing, or just an American thing, but there are dead squirrels everywhere. It’s like playing Frogger, except with bushy tails and shorter legs.

Every time I get in my car, I try to create deeper meaning out of the ridiculously amount of squirrel roadkill all over the road. I mean, there’s got to be some sort of higher purpose for the extreme change, right? (I do know intellectually, of course, that it’s related to an increase in acorns last year … or a harbinger of one heck of a winter ahead … or something)

My initial musings centered around some sort of metaphor for human overpopulation. With the obviously significant increase in squirrels existing, it seems only logical that more of them will die … and isn’t that the case with Homo sapiens as well?

Sad, and perhaps even a fair analogy, but I felt like there had to be more. I am getting back to a place where I am thinking all the time, about anything, about everything, and even more importantly that I am returning to writing about it.

Surely the squirrelpocalypse held some sort of philosophical bend if I thought about it enough; it was too bizarre not to.

For awhile, I wondered if it was about death. Squirrels are an annoyance even when they are not taking over the world, but it’s still hard to see them splattered all over the road, still unpleasant to feel the bump as your car is unable to zigzag around the tiny corpses. Also, they are adorable … my heart always melts a little when I see a squirrel holding a nut in its tiny paws, looking like a stuffed animal.

Then I wondered if it had to do with the unfair, unbalanced relationship between humans and animals. We’re flooded with images of starving Polar bears, Great White sharks amok at Cape Cod, sea turtles with plastic straws stuck in their noses, and so on. Human beings have wreaked havoc on the animal world through Global Warming, deforestation, and relentless hunting, just to name a few. I mean, we have a fenced in back yard so our dog can go out and do his business, and he killed a baby skunk that couldn’t escape. It doesn’t have to be a large scale thing …

So that’s kind of where I was at in my squirrel-themed musings until today.

I was driving home from the grocery store, no longer even aware of the squirrel graveyard that New Hampshire streets have become, when I saw a cat run out in front of the truck I was behind. His taillights didn’t even flash. He had clearly become so jaded by the constant presence of squirrels that he didn’t even notice that it was a cat he had almost hit, presumably someone’s pet.

It bothers me to hit squirrels with my car (I got sent home from work once when I was sixteen because I was so distraught over hitting and killing a chipmunk), but, especially in the current climate of squirrels taking over the world, I’ve sort of gotten used to it.

I have two pet cats, Tiger and Simon. They are very sweet, and I love them very much. Hitting and killing a cat would be different for me than one of the battalions of squirrels running rampant.

Tiger and SiGuy

I’d like to think that I am not so jaded by the squirrel boom that I would at least tap my brakes if I saw a cat run out in front of me. And yet, I no longer hit the brakes when I see something dash out because no squirrel is worth killing myself or someone else in car accident.

I feel like there should be more, but that’s all I’ve got.

Evidently, sometimes a cigar really is just a cigar …


One comment

  1. I absolutely loved the flow of this piece……and the comedic bits are just right. I am a dog walker, cyclist in Oregon and just have seen so many squirrels as of late that your post just nailed it! All my thoughts – BAM!


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